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Manuscripts of Early National and Antebellum America
Ledgers and Day Books

What follows is a list of Early National and Antebellum ledgers and day books from the North American manuscript holdings in the Department of Special Collections, University Libraries of Notre Dame. Ledgers and day books included here date wholly or primarily from the years 1788 to 1860.

  • GEORGE MAKEPEACE DAY BOOK. 1787-1791. 1 vol., 41 cm., 132 leaves, with 261 pages of entries in Makepeace's hand; 14 additional records laid or pinned in. The front free endpaper of this volume is inscribed: "No. 2 / Mr George Makepeace's Day Book / began August 9th AD 1787". Makepeace (1735-1819) was a Boston merchant situated at no. 18 Long Wharf; he catered to the shipping trade. Entries are arranged chronologically, and typically indicate the participant in the transaction, the service or goods provided/received, and the value in money. Many of the customers are ships' masters. In addition to his more local business activities, Makepeace was active in shipping goods up and down the Atlantic coast; the book contains memoranda, invoices, and other kinds of entries relating to voyages in which he had a financial interest. Entries range from 9 August 1787 to 15 April 1791. MSN/EA 9011-1-B to MSN/EA 9011-2.

  • WILLIAM PRESBREY LEDGER. 1789-1792. 1 vol., 34 cm., 36 leaves, with 70 pages of entries, mostly in Presbrey's hand. A volume containing the accounts, mostly in ledger form, of William Presbrey (1747-1832) of Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Entries date from 1789 to 1792; during this time Presbrey appears to have operated, or had a hand in operating, both a general merchandise store and a brickyard. Most of the manuscript is given over to Presbrey's accounts with some 28 individuals, many of them relations. Much of his recorded income derived from the sale of tea, rum, molasses, corn, potatoes, and many other commodities, especially foodstuffs; there are also frequent entries noting the rental of his horse. The majority of the contra entries specify tasks performed for Presbrey, most notably in the brickyard. MSN/EA 9007-1.

  • NATHANIEL WOOD, JR. LEDGER. 1789-1798. 1 vol., 32 cm., 109 leaves, with 216 pages of entries in Wood's hand. 4 additional manuscripts. A manuscript account book, entirely in ledger form, kept from 1789 to 1798 by the blacksmith and mechanic Nathaniel Wood, Jr. (b. 1767), of Norton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. According to the debit pages of his accounts, Wood earned his livelihood by supplying area builders with nails, often in significant quantities; by making and repairing tools and farm equipment; by selling unfinished iron and a range of other commodities, including foodstuffs; and by hiring himself out for seasonal agricultural work. His credit entries specify the receipt from his customers of a broad range of goods and services. Wood often describes his mechanical work in considerable detail: e.g., "putting on one Nub to a Nail tool & upsetting one Nub & Capping two Nubs & welding one Nail tool that was brock in two" (p. 79). MSN/EA 9008-1-B.

  • LYMAN WAKEMAN LEDGER. 1797-1833. 1 vol., 41 x 17 cm., 81 leaves, with 30 pages of manuscript entries in Wakeman's hand. A record, in ledger form, of the personal accounts of Lyman Wakeman (1755-1836) of Fairfield County, Connecticut. The ledger includes accounts with some 25 local individuals. Entries range from 1797 to 1833, though the majority predate 1820. Services provided by Wakeman include: making and selling cider; sawing boards; hauling stone, lumber, and brick; and selling rye, oats, and corn. The book also contains juvenile drawings and scribblings, and several pages of entries from 1872. MSN/EA 9000-1-B.

  • BALLARD SMITH LEDGER AND RECORDS. 1804-1856. 1 vol., 32 cm., 215 leaves, with 383 pages of entries in Smith's hand; 80 additional manuscripts. The business records of the blacksmith Ballard Smith (b. 1774), of Dunstable, Hillsboro County, New Hampshire. The great majority of these records are accounts, in ledger form, itemizing Smith's debit and credit transactions with patrons of his smithy. Such accounts, with entries dating from 1816 to as late as 1856, fill the single bound volume in the collection. About half the loose manuscripts are also accounts, many predating Smith's use of the ledger. There are also receipts, orders to pay, and other business records, mostly in Smith's hand. There is, in addition, an inventory of the estate of Smith's father, Benjamin Smith (d. 1821), also a blacksmith. MSN/EA 9002-1 to MSN/EA 9002-9; MSN/EA 9002-10-B.

  • DAVID CHAPMAN LEDGER. 1821-1827. 1 vol., 37 x 16 cm., 120 leaves, with 139 pages of manuscript entries in Chapman's hand. A record, in ledger form, of the accounts of the blacksmith David Chapman of Rockingham County, New Hampshire. The ledger details Chapman's debit and credit transactions with perhaps 80 different individuals, from 1821 to 1827. Virtually all Chapman's income here recorded derived from smithing. The volume also contains a number of juvenile drawings, as well as a body of account entries from 1891. MSN/EA 9001-1-B.

  • NATHAN BICKFORD LEDGER. 1821-1840 (bulk 1821-1833). 1 vol., 31 cm., 287 leaves, with 549 pages of entries, mostly in Bickford's hand. 15 additional manuscripts. A manuscript business ledger containing the accounts of the wool carder and cloth dresser Nathan Bickford (1797-1879), of Epsom, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. From 1821 to 1833 Bickford operated a traditional, independent textile mill on the Suncook River in the Merrimack Valley. The accounts appear to encompass the full history of Bickford's operation of the mill, which he leased out in 1833. As detailed in the ledger, Bickford's income derived from the carding of wool and the dressing of cloth, for individual local customers; his contra entries specify a wide range of barter goods taken in payment for this work, as well as cash. MSN/EA 9005-1 to MSN/EA 9005-2-B.

  • IMRI WOODS LEDGER. 1822-1827. 1 vol., 33 cm., 157 leaves, with 196 pages of entries in Woods' hand. 2 additional manuscripts. A volume containing the business accounts, in ledger form, of Imri Woods (1789-1868) of Henneker, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. In 1817 Woods purchased an interest in a West Henneker mill owned by his older brother, William L. Woods (1776-1847). Many of the accounts in the present volume were brought from an earlier "ledger No. 1" (apparently lost). Most of the income here recorded derived from dressing and dying cloth, and sawing logs. An additional 30+ pages of entries have been obscured by newspaper clippings. MSN/EA 9006-1 to MSN/EA 9006-2-B.

  • DAIRY LEDGER. 1844-1872. 1 vol., 20 cm., 112 leaves, with 214 pages of manuscript entries. The accounts, mostly in ledger form, of an unidentified dairy operator from Wellington, Lorain County, Ohio. Entries extend from 1844 to after 1870. The bulk of the ledger owner's income, especially from the late 1850s, derived from the sale of cheese; many of the accounts in the volume are with his commercial buyers (such as A. Berry & Co. of Zanesville and Philip Shapter of Columbus). There are also many accounts with individual employees. The owner of the ledger also himself purchased cheese from local farmers, which he then sold to his buyers at a profit; records of these transactions are included as well. MSN/EA 9004-1-B.

  • GEORGE SCHEIRER DAY BOOK. 1845-1848. 1 vol., 32 cm., 24 leaves, with 48 pages of manuscript. A German-language day book of the shoemaker George Scheirer (b. ca. 1805) of Richmond Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, with entries ranging from 1845 to 1848. MSN/EA 9013-1.

  • GRAVESTONE MAKER'S DAY BOOK. 1846. 1 vol., 20 cm., 46 leaves, with 92 pp. of manuscript in a single hand. A day book containing requisite information for the manufacture and delivery of some 200 commissioned gravestones, compiled in 1846 by an unknown maker working on the central coast of Maine. Whether the compiler of the book was himself the maker, or whether he represented a larger concern, is not apparent from the manuscript. Most of the commissions are from residents of Lincoln, Knox, and Waldo counties. Individual entries typically include: the proposed stone's dimensions and material; the text to be inscribed on the stone, including epitaphs, and any requested ornament; the stone's cost, and details regarding payment; and the place of delivery. Entries appear to have been made from May 1846 into the autumn of the same year. The stones recorded in the book commemorate individuals who died as early as 1819. MSN/EA 9010-1.

  • CAPT. GIDEON LANE DAY BOOK. 1846-1848. 1 vol., 42 cm., 128 leaves, with 256 pages of manuscript. An account book in day book form recording transactions of the general merchant Capt. Gideon Lane, 3rd (1791-1865), of Annisquam in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts. Entries range from 9 August 1846 to 31 May 1848. MSN/EA 9012-1-B.

  • JOHN S. WARD ACCOUNT BOOK. 1849-1854. 1 vol., 20 cm., 65 leaves, with 107 pages of manuscript entries in Ward's hand. A manuscript account book kept from 1849 to 1854 by the carpenter John S. Ward (1818-1872) of Providence, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Earlier transactions are recorded in day book form (i.e., organized by date); from c1851, the book's arrangement is essentially that of a ledger (organized by debtor/creditor). Much of Ward's income derived from the crafting of furniture and other wood items for locals; he also worked extensively for another Providence carpenter, Elisha J. Hand. In addition, the volume contains accounts relating to the settlement of the estate of Ward's father, Samuel. MSN/EA 9009-1-B.

  • GREENWOOD, JENNISON & CO. DAY BOOK. 1855-1857. 1 vol., 34 cm., 75 leaves, with 143 pages of manuscript. A day book of Greenwood, Jennison & Co. a chair manufacturer of Templeton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, containing transctions for 1855-1857. MSN/EA 9014-1.

  • PETER V. BANTA DAY BOOK. 1856-1862 (bulk 1856-1857). 1 vol., 32 cm., 104 leaves, with 209 pages of entries, mostly in Banta's hand. A record, in day book format, of the business transactions of Peter Vorhees Banta (1814-1889), of Castine, Darke County, Ohio. Entries run from 1 July 1856 to 22 April 1857, with a few entries from the 1860s which may or may not be in Banta's hand. Banta appears to have operated a dry goods and general merchandise store. MSN/EA 9003-1-B.


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